July 27, 2013 (First Creek Hike)

Do you ever wonder who names things? Have you ever thought “I could come up with wonderful names for streets and creeks and things!¬†Where does one apply for such a position?” Case in point: First Creek. Why “First?” It certainly isn’t the first creek past the Hwy 970/97 interchange. It’s the second, just past Swauk Creek (Swauk? Why not…Bluebird Creek? or Idyll Glen Brook? See! I could do so much better than…Swauk.)

Anyway, back to the beginning of the day. Neighbors came by in the early morning to sign paperwork for the land deal. I was a proper housefrau and served coffee and Sweet Potato Pie bread. I must really like these folks, eh?

We headed up to hike the First Creek forest road with the pups midmorning. It was a warm morning, but there was a nice, cool breeze that made the 5-mile hike manageable. We stopped every 20 minutes or so to give them water. Darwin dashed from shady spot to shady spot in the road to cool off. Cooper was a trouper, as usual. Darwin found an elk leg. They wandered through weeds.

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I found butterflies – a Western Tiger Swallowtail

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and dozens of Zerene Fritillaries.

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(Isn’t Frittilary a darling name? And don’t you wish that the butterfly was still called a flutterby? Butterfly namers should work for the geographic naming things department.)

The pups were hot and hired, so we took a side trail near the bottom of the hike, and Cooper did what he loves to do best on a hot summer’s day.

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We then came home, ate a quick lunch, and took a short nap.

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July 14, 2013 (Acreage Accrual)

Woot! We bought the adjoining two acreage parcels, bringing our land baron acreage (lol) total to 20. We’ve been eyeing the land ever since we bought this place one year ago. The one directly to the east of us has a prime building site, with a large, flat meadow where the deer love to eat and nap – our view from the east side of the house. We couldn’t imagine having a house over there, so when the owner renewed his efforts to sell of all of his land holdings (he’s a major land baron around here!), we decided that those lots would likely be among the first to sell, given they have nice building sites and lovely views. This was a lesson learned the hard way when we bought our K-wick house 25 years ago. We were pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, with only a few houses around us. We had beautiful, unobstructed views to the north. Today – housing developments ate up every last bit of land and are even chewing up the hill behind us. Not going to happen at this house, not if we can help it.

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We are overjoyed to see that a couple of the huge, old Ponderosa pines that burned last year – every last needle was brown and their trunks were black – now are greening up. New growth at the ends of the branches! There is hope.

The boys got to do a little bit of buck chasing this morning out in the meadow. Darwin seems to be feeling better and his stools have firmed up a bit. Didn’t eat this morning, but he was bouncing along on our morning acreage reconnoiter walk. I hope he’s okay – as is, lately we seem to be putting the foundation in for a new wing at the vet’s, and it’s getting old.¬†

July 13, 2012 (Bad Weed)

And I’m not talking about marijuana! Seems that since last weekend our property has been overrun by the dread napweed. We’d never seen it before, hadn’t noticed it even though I had eyed it in our Northwest Weeds book. But then visiting neighbors mentioned “did you know you have napweed at the end of your driveway?” WHAT!? So, after they showed us the nasty weed we started seeing it everywhere, like it had sprung out of the earth at the mere mention of its name. It takes advantage of areas that have been disturbed, and given the amount of landscaping we’ve had done and all of the various earth-moving machines rumbling around the property, I guess it comes as no surprise.

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The 10 acres in back of us is awash in the stuff, probably due to the disturbance caused by cleanup of the “home site” after the fire. It couldn’t truly be called a home – more of an oddball hut and viewing platform. If there was one benefit of the fire, it was the removal of that eyesore. Hopefully the landowner will mow the acreage to help avoid seed spread.

Darwin has been sick. He has had to go outside about every 2 hours. He’s a pretty blue fellow, and has been since last Thursday night. I think, maybe, it was a bad reaction to the heartworm medication I gave him on the 10th. It’s a new brand. I’ll have to check the side effects when we get back to K-wick. Either that or it’s a partial bowel obstruction, which won’t be good. He has been very listless – he pooped out on our afternoon walk and I had to carry him for a bit. I haven’t had to do that since he was a little puppy. We had to take the scissors to all of the gorgeous long hair on his backside because clean up was becoming a chore that none of us relished.

Guess what? The wind didn’t blow! Which means that these weren’t moving (much). Beautiful sunset.

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June 22, 2013

Last weekend was busy. Jacob took the bus into Eburg on Saturday, and we did lots of chores.

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Went to K-wick (lol) on Sunday.

This weekend we arrived to the sound of wee baby bluebirds over the porch. Oh, to have a webcam!

I put together a natural grass arrangement in the Tiffany-blue flowered vase for our bedroom. I’m really happy with it, after angsting over it for months. I went into Hobby Lobby a few days ago and decided that I really needed to just get ‘er done. I carried around a few decorative pieces, blue bobbles, twiney branches, then decided to go with things that looked real, because I knew David would like that best. And we’re both happy with it.
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Dale is coming by in the morning to look at doing stage 2 of the landscaping. And the two dead Ponderosas are really, really dead. I will try to remember to ask Dale to pull them out now so we don’t have to look at them, and replace them in the fall when it’s cooler outside.

Finally have figured out what Darwin has been trying to communicate to us with his whining over the bone. (We’re slow.) He either wants us to throw it, or hide it! Now that we are trained to his bidding, he’s been happy putting us through our paces.

June 1, 2013

Quiet weekend. Worked on straightening the garage walls. We suspect Mary or someone didn’t stop in time and bowed out the back.

Mapped out the yards for landscaping, measuring and planning additional walks and trees. I’d like to put in Fat Albert blue spruces, an Umbrella Catalpa, a willow, mock oranges, and a boatload of creeping phlox.

There was a new bird on the finch feeder, a Cassien’s Finch. Bluebirds are still living over the front door, but make frequent visits to the vacation home.

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Saw a big bug that made a sound a bit like a cicada. I took pictures, then David caught it in a jar for me. I studied it and compared it against our bug book, but am at a loss as to what it might be. Big Black Beady-Eyed Bug, I guess.

We would like for there to be a thunderstorm with lots of lightning. But no resultant fires. Just a loud, impressive storm or two.

Alan has done more work on his landing strip, bringing in the big machinery this morning. Then he flew his plane around. He’s really quite skilled, and it was fun to watch him do barrel rolls, etc.

Dogs are lazy. Cooper is slow. Happy to just lay around with an occasional walk into the field to smell. I need to see about getting him some arthritis meds. I can feel the disfigurement in his hips; he must be hurting. I fear we won’t be able to take him on long walks any longer, which will be sad for us all.

How does a dog manage to get two ticks of two different species in one spot? Is that even possible? Should he buy a Lotto ticket? Poor Darwin. He tried so hard to be cooperative, but the danged things hurt, there in the tender meat of his hind leg. Same side as the nefarious skin-dwelling worm of puppyhood. Shivers. We put them in foil, poured alcohol on them, and set them on fire. Viking funeral pyre!!

Meadowlarks took baths in our little pool. I didn’t see it firsthand, but David did. I watched the afterbath fluff and preen. Meadowlark-approved bathhouse – we have it!

David is out in the garage feeding dinner to the mice, via their traps.

David gazes out the window. Says “the windmills are turning.” It’s going to be a long retirement. Long, I tell you. I read this to him. He says “no, they are rotating.” Sigh.

I had David ‘cover one eye’ and then tell me how it’s different from looking through both eyes. That’s how I see. It’s all the same to me, I can’t see depth. After realizing that I see how he sees out of one eye, he said “I don’t think you should drive.” I told him I go off of cues, but that yes, it is becoming more difficult.

Balava for dessert. I recall why I don’t care for it one iota. Blech.

Darwin is staring at me. I don’t have food. I am a disappointment to the canine world.

May 26, 2013

More weeding this morning. Took a hike down to the creek and the dogs played in the water. Darwin has gone from crossing the stream only when he must, to walking up the stream because he can. What a difference a year makes!

It has been a rain-sun day. A few minutes ago the sun was shining, and now the temperature has dropped probably 20 degrees and a cold win and rain are pushing in from the west.

Alan Anderson is building an airstrip! We’ve wondered what in the world was going on over there, and Dale filled us in that it is an actual airstrip for his remote-controlled plane. Serious boys and toys syndrome.

David finished the bluebird house and we put it in the burned pine. It’s lovely. So lovely that within 2 hours it was being inspected for occupancy! I’m thrilled for David – this validation of his hard work. Now papa bluebird is trying to convince mama bluebird to move. She won’t even look, just sits on a branch with her back turned away. He’s all a-twitter because it’s ultramodern and brand new. She’s upset because it’s unfurnished, and look at how hard they’ve worked to decorate their current home. And to make matters even more complicated, a Tanager realtor is eyeing it for her new digs. Whatever will happen? Whoever will move in? Tune in next week to find out who wins the battle over the new apartment.

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(The birdhouse is right there, in that burned tree. See it?)

We’ve had a number of discussions about taking a chance and retiring so we can be here full time. If Lana gets the job in Dillon I suspect that might be the impetus to make it happen, healthcare and pension and finances be damned!

May 25, 2013

What a splendid day! David worked on a gutter downspout project, while I weeded all morning, then raked. I think a lot about mom when I do that, feeling that this aspect of her life (weeding, raking) has come full circle. I hate to weed in Kennewick; I could weed all day here.

We then went into town, and left the pups at home for a trial run of independence. First stop – the hardware store! Broom, whisk (a niftt brown-bristled whisk!), nails, skinny weeder thingy, pronged weeder thingy, a little sander tool, wood filler, leather gloves – it was so much fun! Then we went to the grocery store and bought a chicken for dinner tonight, a tri-tip for tomorrow night. Eatin’ good in the neighborhood.

David built a bluebird house, the first of many, I suspect. It’s very cute. We shall put it in the burned pine tomorrow morning.

Took pictures of the pups. Great fun. They were hams! Darwin preoccupied Cooper by doing some MMA fighting while I brushed out Cooper’s tail (which he has never let me do before). Thanks, Darbaby.

Dale and Marie stopped by to say hi. We talked about Umbrella Catalpa trees and flagstone, among other things. We’re going to visit with them tomorrow afternoon.

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